Friday night I went to Neil Strauss’s signing for his new book: Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead. The next day I started reading through the excerpts of rock interviews he’d chosen to make points about life. Like, drugs will kill you unless you find God (faith), all people talk about on their death bed are family and love, letting go of the past will set you free, and pursuing something you’re passionate about is more fulfilling than pursuing money.
It reminded me of how Neil and I parted ways, almost ten years ago now. I was filing his music, putting his portfolio together, as well as a few other odds ‘n ends. It was an in between job. Between getting laid off and getting on with a new consulting company. When I got word of a second interview. I was ecstatic, relieved, yet mildly torn. It was Grammy month, and Neil had asked me to help him out backstage with coverage–the weekend I was asked to fly to my second interview.
I tried to postpone my interview, I tried to figure out a way to fly red-eye, or crack-of-dawn early Monday morning, but there was no way my typical Libra finagling could make it work. And I couldn’t pass up the interview. I had been unemployed for five months, living out of boxes, on the good graces of a close friend, and the money Neil was paying me was survival money, not get-back-on-my-feet money, I needed a real job.
At the time it felt like the right thing to do. The thought of being a writer hadn’t occurred to me yet. What Neil was doing, interviewing bands like No Doubt and U2, for rags like Rolling Stone and the New York Times, and going to the Grammys, it was something the lucky few got to do, I needed to be responsible.
Today, sitting in front of my computer, sending out resumes, wondering when I’ll get a good response, trying to write, trying to market my books as an independent author, I wonder how different my life would’ve been if I’d gone to the Grammys instead. Were the Grammys my one shot of breaking out into something new, different, the writing world?
As I lament over this last night, Hubbie tells me it’s not a shot unless you realize it’s a shot, and maybe he’s right. If at the time I wasn’t pining to interview rock stars and get a foot in the writing world, maybe the only shot I missed was partying with some rock ‘n roll elite, or having sex with one of them, and I’ve been there done that… What if blowing off my interview meant more months of financial struggle, and eventually having to move back to Canada and back in with my parents when my only goals at the time were to stay in SOCAL, make money, buy a house, get married, have kids… I don’t do “struggle” well.
I like to believe we all have a destiny. That we end up making the decisions we make for a greater purpose. That we don’t really fuck things up or miss out on things as much as get closer to something bigger. And maybe the “bigger” has nothing to do with being a big celebrity. Maybe the “bigger” is being healthy and surrounded by people that love you, because the other “bigger” would lead to a completely sad demise. Or maybe it’s a “bigger” we haven’t even fathomed yet.
And if there isn’t such a thing as destiny, then let’s just chalk it up to: we make the best decisions we can with what we know at the time, and we need to keep moving forward; because nothing good comes from living in the past.